Portland author Willy Vlautin gives us a portrait of American life that hits the reader like a knuckle sandwich! His new novel is "The Free" & in this tome, Willy delivers a disquieting, yet ultimately hopeful, story about unsung people wrestling with the kinds of physical, psychological, & financial difficulties that confront so many of us today. Beautifully capturing the bruised heart of the contemporary working class, Vlautin pits 3 unforgettable characters against the challenges of everyday life-finding connection at the random point where their lives intersect. The infamous Ann Patchett posts, "In "The Free", Willy Vlautin gives us a portrait of American life that is so hard & so heartbreaking that it should be unbearable, but it isn't." This sounds like me...I'm the Puffman(!)...when I'm trying to muddle my way through the sports brackets every spring! Patchett goes on to write, "The straightforward beauty of Vlautin's writing, & the tender care he shows his characters, turns a story of struggle into indispensable reading. I couldn't recommend it more highly." That's good enough for me, I've put it on top of my "Reading List" & will be perusing it my 1st opportunity. I'll get back to you on a future Puffman Blog & share my thoughts with you after reading the book.In the meantime, I strongly encourage you to check out "The Free" by Willy Vlautin...it's a Harper Perennial/Paperback Original from HarperCollins Publishers & it hit bookstores nationwide last month.